I don't want to bore folk with the tiniest detail of my holiday, but today merits a blog post of its own. If you have ever looked at visiting Discovery Cove and thought the price was over-the-top, take it from me, it isn't. I just got back from my day at Discovery Cove and I couldn't recommend it any more highly.
Discovery Cove is not like any other theme park in Florida, spaces are limited, so you have to make reservations. This means that there are considerably less people than in an ordinary theme park and as it is also quite a small park, it feels very private. None of this prepared us for the wonderes we experienced today.
First up when we arrived for 8am check-in, they were experiencing computer problems which meant they were checking everyone in by hand. Waiting for this was no bore, as the Discovery Cove staff kept us entertained by bringing out some of the animals including an Owl, a Parrot, a Sloth and an Armadillo! After having a "meet n greet" with practically every member of staff we got stuck in to breakfast (included) which was more than adequate for excited bellies!
Discovery Cove provides either a vest or full wet suit, a snorkel & mask (you get to keep the snorkel if you wish), and special sunscreen which isn't harmful to animals. After getting suited up we headed to Starfish Cabana for our 9:25 dolphin interaction where we watched a short film & got to chat to the trainer for a while. We were split into four groups with just 8 people in each and taken to the lagoon.
The kids in our group seemed put-off by the cool salt water, but I couldn't wait to get in there and meet some dolphins. We got to stroke, kiss and hug a 12 yr old dolphin called Jenny who was very friendly and a bit of a poser! She then took us for rides across the lagoon and boy do dolphins have torque! You put your right hand on the dorsal fin, and as soon as your left hand touches the flipper, away she goes! (I'll upload the photos when I get home, don't have my EEE-PC CD drive with me)
The 2nd dolphin we got to play with, was Rose, a younger "model" dolphin - long, thin, dark, and gorgeous! We used hand signals to ask her to talk, jump, and sadly to say goodbye :( but this was only the beginning of our day. Discovery Cove has an area where you can snorkel with tropical fish and be just a glass pane away from barracudas and sharks, a ray lagoon where you can feed rays, and a lazy river which floats you through the awesome aviary.
The aviary was the one surprise we weren't expecting. It's in 3 sections, and you can feed the birds in each part. Some are vegetarian, but I had great fun feeding mealworms to Cuckoos. Many of the birds are very friendly, and there are so many different types all with different personalities from the proud peacock to the sleepy tawny frogmouth! We spent hours in the aviary feeding various birds and learning all about them from the (mostly) friendly staff.
Lunch is also provided, and is served from 11-3pm so you can feasibly have two lunches :) The food was pretty darned good, included some yummy deserts and all the cookies, crisps, ice-creams, soft-drinks and annheuser-busch alcoholic drinks you can eat! Posh toiletries, towels, loungers, parking and 14 days unlimited access to Sea World, Aquatica and Busch Gardens were also included on our ticket making it great value for money in my opinion. The one thing they sting you on is the cost of photographs which are totally irresistible of course, but what the hell, this really was a fabulous, once in a lifetime, unforgetable, amazing experience.
Sorry for the long post, but I want to document today as much as possible!